Un-iStock’ing your photos: The importance of relevant imagery

  1. Owning a library full of high quality imagery that fully illustrates the story of your company, from products, services right through to the people in it, is a journalist's dream, which also means your audience will love it too.

Gone are the days of ‘that’ll do iStock images’ and here to stay is relevant, interesting imagery.

More often than not, as trained journalists, we find ourselves getting so caught up in the who, what, why, when, where and how aspects of a story that the images to accompany it can be an afterthought. It’s not until the publication turns around on deadline day and asks for the dreaded ‘300dpi, larger than 2MB files’, that you realise the iPhone picture that Dave in the factory sent over last week might not work on the front page of a trade magazine... Darn.

Recently, I was lucky enough to be wandering through the Irish hillsides on a commissioned photography project for a client (we’re not just writers you know).  The sun was shining for the first time in weeks and the break in the weather presented us with the chance to nail all of the shots within our allotted time, which – trust me – isn’t always the case. This outdoor part of the project drew the two-day shoot to a close, and as we started to pack the kit away, compliment the drone pilot again on his trendy scarf, and pick the mud from places we didn’t know it could reach, it gave me a chance to reflect on what we’d achieved and put together some do’s and don’ts.

So, without further ado, here’s Ridgemount’s top tips for titillating t’images…

1. Plan, plan and plan again

We often hear that failure to prepare is preparing to fail, and in the world of photography that couldn’t be any truer. We suggest creating an itinerary list of shoot locations with an accompanying shot list as far in advance as possible. Ensure that this super important document is shared with all those involved so that there are no nasty surprises on the day. You must also prepare for the unexpected! Give yourself plenty of time (personally I add around 30-40 minutes to each location and/or travel aspect to account for the unexpected i.e. stray cattle wandering across the road…)

2. Know your route

When driving around a new location don’t rely on your Satnav or GPS alone: trust me they can let you down. Instead, make sure to scope out the area on Google Maps, or even better arrange a site visit before the shoot if possible to suss out the best way to get from A to B.

3. Choose wisely

Ensure that the photographer you pick is known in the industry, has a proven portfolio, and perhaps most of all… is a good communicator. Having a world class photographer that leaves confirming his whereabouts to the last minute can lead to unnecessary heart palpitations!

4. Size matters

300Dpi, over 3MB – rules to live by.  Anything less will result in not only a distorted image when blown up to fit on A4, but also a fed-up journalist as they explain for the fourth or fifth time that anything less simply won’t work. 

5. License to thrill

Licensing, Licensing, Licensing. Your wonderful arty imagery will only be appreciated if your audience can see it. That’s why it’s imperative that you agree full promotional permissions of all imagery without any extra or hidden costs. That includes agreeing ownership of the dreaded copyright.